What is FIRST?
FIRST(For the Inspiration of Science and Technology) is an international organization founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen. The mission of FIRST is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, and teach them life skills such as self-confidence, communication, and leadership. FIRST has competitions for students from elementary school to high school. As of 2016, there were more than 460,000 students participating on 52,000 different teams.
FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC):
Every year, FIRST designs a game that teams must build a robot to play. The game is different each year, and is kept secret until early January, where it is simultaneously revealed to teams during the season kick-off. Teams then have six weeks to design, build, program, and test their robot.
At the end of the six weeks, teams bag their robot and are not allowed to touch it until competition in March. During the three day competition, teams are organized into three team alliances for each match. This requires that teams strategize and build their robot to play both offensively and defensively. Alliances compete in a series of 2 1/2-minute qualification rounds, and at the end, the 6 top ranked teams choose other teams to form their alliances for the elimination rounds. The winner of the elimination rounds moves on to the world competition.
About the game:
The 2017 FIRST Robotics Competition game is FIRST STEAMWORKS. The goal of the game is to prepare your airship for flight. This is done in three ways:
1. Build Steam Pressure: Robots collect fuel represented by yellow wiffle balls, and score it in high and low goals in their boiler. As fuel is scored steam pressure in the tank on the alliance’s airship builds – the high goal builds pressure faster than the low goal.
2. Start Rotors: Robots retrieve gears and deliver them to pilots on their airship. Once a gear train is complete the rotor can be started. There are four rotors on each airship.
3. Prepare for Flight: During the last 30 seconds of the match, robots can climb ropes hanging from their airships.
The first 15 seconds of the match is autonomous period, in which robots operate from preprogrammed instructions, without input from the driver. During the last two minutes and fifteen seconds, student drivers operate the robot.
2017: FIRST Steamworks
FIRST® STEAMWORKS℠, the 2017 FIRST® Robotics Competition game, invites two adventurers’ clubs,
in an era where steam power reigns, to prepare their airships for a long distance race. Each three-team alliance prepares in three ways:
1. Build steam pressure. Robots collect fuel (balls) and score it in their boiler via high and low efficiency goals. Boilers turn fuel into steam pressure which is stored in the steam tank on their airship – but it takes more fuel in the low efficiency goal to build steam than the high efficiency goal.
2. Start rotors. Robots deliver gears to pilots on their airship for installation. Once the gear train is complete, they turn the crank to start the rotor.
3. Prepare for flight. Robots must latch on to their airship before launch (the end of the match) by ascending their ropes to signal that they’re ready for takeoff.
Each match begins with a 15-second autonomous period in which robots operate only on preprogrammed instructions. During this period, robots work to support the three efforts listed above and also get points for crossing their baseline. During the remaining 2 minutes and 15 seconds of the match, the teleoperated period, student drivers control robots. Teams on an alliance work together to build as much pressure and start as many rotors as possible – but they have to be sure they leave enough time to latch on to their airship before the end of the match.
2016: FIRST Stronghold
FIRST® STRONGHOLD℠ is played on a 27 ft. by 54 ft. field. Each alliance commands one tower, five defenses, and a ‘secret passage’ which allows their robots to restock on ammunition, called boulders. One defense in each alliance’s set of five, the low bar, is a permanent part of the field. Three defenses are selected strategically by the alliance prior to the start of their match. The final defense changes periodically by audience selection. Each FIRST STRONGHOLD match begins with a 15-second autonomous period in which robots operate independently of human control. During this period, robots attempt to cross opposing defenses and score in the opposing tower. During the remaining 2 minutes and 15 seconds of the match, called the teleop period, robots are controlled by student drivers from behind their castle wall at the end of the field. Teams on an alliance work together to cross defenses, weaken the opposing tower by scoring boulders in it, and finally surround, scale and capture the tower.
2015: Recycle Rush
RECYCLE RUSH℠ is a recycling-themed game played by two Alliances of three robots each. Robots score points by stacking totes on scoring platforms, capping those stacks with recycling containers, and properly disposing of pool noodles, representing litter. In keeping with the recycling theme of the game, all game pieces used are reusable or recyclable by teams or by FIRST® at the end of the season. Each Alliance competes on their respective side of the playing field. During the autonmous period, robots attempt to earn points by moving themselves, their yellow totes, and their recycling containers into the area between the scoring platforms. During the Teleop Period, teams on an Alliance work together to place as many totes on their white scoring platforms as possible. Alliances earn additional points for recycling containers placed on the scored totes, with containers at greater height earning more points. Alliances also earn points for disposing of their litter in their Landfill Zone, or placing litter in or on scored recycling containers. Alliances that leave litter unprocessed on their side of the field at the end of the match, not in scoring position, will add points to the score of the other Alliance. Alliances have an opportunity to earn Coopertition® points by coordinating with the other Alliance in the match. Coopertition points are awarded if, at some point in the match, there are at least four yellow totes on the step simultaneously.
2014: Aerial Assist
AERIAL ASSIST℠ is played by two competing Alliances of three robots each on a flat 25’ x 54’ foot field, straddled by a truss suspended just over five feet above the floor. The objective is to score as many balls in goals as possible during a match. The more Alliances score their ball in their goals, and the more they work together to do it, the more points their Alliance receives. Each robot may begin with a ball and attempt to score it in a goal. Alliances earn bonus points for scoring balls in autonomous mode and for any of their robots that move in to their zones. Additionally, each high/low pair of goals will be designated “hot” for five seconds, but the order of which side is first is randomized. For each ball scored in a “hot” goal, the Alliance earns additional bonus points. For the rest of the match, drivers remotely control robots from behind a protective wall. Once all balls in autonomous are scored, only one ball is re-entered in to play, and the Alliances must cycle a single ball as many times as possible for the remainder of the match. With the single ball, they try to maximize their points earned by throwing balls over the truss, catching balls launched over the truss, and scoring in the high and low goals on the far side of the field. Alliances receive large bonuses for “assists,” which are earned for each robot that has possession of the ball in a zone as the ball moves down the field.
2013: Ultimate Ascent
ULTIMATE ASCENT℠ is played by two competing alliances on a flat, 27 x 54 foot field. Each Alliance consists of three robots, and they compete to score as many discs into their goals as they can during a two (2)-minute and fifteen (15)-second match. The higher the goal in which the disc is scored, the more points the Alliance receives. The match begins with a fifteen (15)-second Autonomous Period in which robots operate independently of driver inputs. Discs scored during this period are worth additional points. For the remainder of the match, drivers control robots and try to maximize their alliance score by scoring as many goals as possible. The match ends with robots attempting to climb up pyramids located near the middle of the field. Each robot earns points based on how high it climbs.
2012: Rebound Rumble
Rebound Rumble℠ is played by two competing Alliances on a flat, 27 x 54 foot field. Each Alliance consists of three robots. They compete to score as many basketballs into their hoops as they can during a 2 minute and 15 second match. The higher the hoop in which the basketball is scored, the more points the Alliance receives. The match begins with a 15-second Hybrid Period in which robots operate independently of driver inputs. During this Hybrid Period, one robot on each Alliance may be controlled using a Microsoft Kinect. Baskets scored during this period are worth extra points. For the remainder of the match, drivers control robots and try to maximize their Alliance score by scoring as many baskets as possible. The match ends with robots attempting to balance on bridges located at the middle of the field. In Qualification Matches, a robot from each Alliance will also try to balance on the white Coopertition™ bridge to score additional ranking points for each Alliance.